Each year the United Nations works to combat food supply issues by highlighting and educating the public about important crops around the world offering alternative protein-rich solutions to feed our population. The UN has declared the coming year, 2016, to be the International Year of Pulses, aiming to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits and sustainable food production of pulse crops. To put it into perspective, 2013 was the Year of Quinoa – you know that grain we’re now finding anywhere and everywhere?! Well get ready to see more pulse crops on those same shelves and menus.
What exactly are Pulse Crops?
These vegetable crops are legume seeds that include lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas – a vital source of plant-based proteins, fiber and amino acids. In fact, pulses provide about 10 percent of the total dietary protein consumed in the world and have about twice the protein content of most cereal grains. Pulses can help prevent obesity, diabetes, coronary conditions and cancer, not to mention, are GMO-free and gluten-free. Additionally, pulses are one of the best crop options for sustainability goals as they naturally fertilize the soil, cutting a farmer’s fertilization use by half, and can be used to extend and diversify crop rotations.
With 600,000+ acres of pulse crops located in the state, North Dakota is responsible for growing more than 96 percent of North America’s pulse crops.
Paving the way in pulse crop innovation in North Dakota in particular is AGT Food USA - one of the largest suppliers of value-added pulses, staple foods and food ingredients in the world. Its pulse production represents nearly 45 percent of the global market, and 20 percent of the world’s lentils go through its factories.
AGT is transforming the consumer options of pulses by incorporating them into pastas, flours, cereals and snacks. This North Dakota company is helping to make the UN’s goal of sharing the benefits of pulses a reality by creating pulse products and alternatives for everyone; dieters, food-restricted and picky eaters alike.